Friday, November 30, 2012

Fall In Love Again GIveaway WINNERS

Thank you very much to everyone who entered.
We had close to 700 entries when you include the comments left on the blog.
 The draw for the nine winners has been done and the emails sent.

The winners are:
Khris
Filia
Kelly
Tory
Shannon Karan
Roxanna
Farrah
Adela

If you haven't entered the Harlequin Historical Advent calendar -- please consider doing so. The top prize is a Kindle Fire HD and there are daily prizes. Today's giveaway is being hosted by www.michellestyles.co.uk and is a gift box which includes a singed copy of one of her books (winner's choice), Christmas tea, biscuits, a mug and a tea towel ( £20 value). It is open INTERNATIONALLY.

Harlequin Historical Advent Calendar Day 3 -- Michelle Styles

It is Michelle Styles's turn today. She writes warm, witty and intimate romance set in a wide range of time periods. She is offering a Take A Break gift box -- filled with a signed book of the winner's choice from her books, Christmas tea, biscuits, a mug and a tea towel (total value £20)
To enter visit www.michellestyles.co.uk  and answer the simple question.
All entrants go forward to the grand prize.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

THE ILLEGITMATE MONTAGUE



Welcome!

I am so pleased to be part of the Castonbury Park Series, and for my characters I chose to write more about "downstairs" characters - in fact, my main characters are outside the big house altogether!

This book is number 5 in the series and I wanted to tell the housekeeper's story. Hannah Stratton is a much loved figure at Castonbury, she has seen the children grow up and has a son of her own, Adam, whom she has not seen for ten years.  She has never spoken about his father, or told anyone her history, but in this book it is necessary for her to put the record straight.


The Illegitimate Montague features Hannah's son, Adam. He has been away from Castonbury for many years, making a name for himself first as a captain in Nelson's navy, then in the north of England, where he becomes a mill owner. As a manufacturer of cloth, he has plenty in common with Amber Hall, the clothier who owns a warehouse and shop in Castonbury, and I could see them both working well together in the future , making the most of the opportunities that would present themselves in the forthcoming Victorian era – once they have overcome all the obstacles that I throw in their way, of course!

Without giving too much away, I can tell you that there is a disastrous fire at one point in the story, and this started me thinking about insurance. We take if for granted now, but not so in the Regency. However, the idea of fire insurance goes back to the days of the great fire of London in 1666.

One man involved in the rebuilding of London after the fire was a property developer, Nicholas Barbon. In 1667 he set up a mutual society called "The Fire Office" offering fire insurance, this later became known as Phoenix Fire Office.In 1682 it cost 30 shillings for the company to insure a property for £100 for a period of 7 years. The company employed its own men complete with liveries and badges employed to extinguish fires.
 
He is credited with setting up the first of several fire insurance companies formed around that time, others included the Friendly Society (1683), Hand-in-Hand (1696) Sun Fire Office (1710) and Royal Exchange Assurance (1720).
 
To identify that a property was covered by fire insurance, attached to the building, at a height easily seen from the street but out of reach of thieves, was a sign or emblem called a fire mark which was issued by the company. Each company had its own distinctive design which made identification of the property easier for their fire fighters and the company representatives. Designs included, for Sun Fire Office: a large sun with a face (like the image below); the Royal Exchange Assurance: their building; and Phoenix: obviously Phoenix rising from the ashes.

credit: Pauline Eccles [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Of course Castonbury was small village and did not have its own fire engine, but fire insurance companies were beginning to be set up in the larger towns such as Manchester and Buxton, so it is not impossible that businesses in Castonbury would have had insurance. I decided to include it in the plot, together with a rather unpleasant character called Mr Elliot a surveyor for the Twiss Fire Insurance Company (my own invention).I won't say any more, but I do hope you enjoy his part in Adam and Amber's story!

Sarah Mallory.

Harlequin Historical Advent Calendar Day 2 -- Annie Burrows

It is Regency Author Annie Burrows' day today. To win a book and some personalized stationary, follow  the instructions on her website. All entrants go forward for the draw of the grand prize.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

2012 HH Advent Calendar Day One

Today is Marguerite Kaye's Day. She has a simple quesiton for people to answer and she is giving away a necklace.

To enter: go to http://www.margueritekaye.com/harlequin-historical-holiday-calendar/




Also remember there is still time to enter the Fall In Love Again Blog Hop which closes on 29 November. You can find the entry form here. a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Monday, November 26, 2012

Fall In Love (Again) Giveaway blog hop -- Final Set of Authors

Today we are showcasing the remaining three Harlequin Historical authors who have offered prizes for this giveaway

First up is Annie Burrows who writes  sparkling romance about brooding heroes and the fiesty heroines who help them find true love. Annie loves the Regency period because of the social mobility -- a man could rise to the pinncle of society through enterrpise and daring or plummet to its depth on the turn of a card.
Annie is offering a copy  Gift Wrapped Governesses singed by her to one lucky entrant.
by Sophia James, Annie Burrows & Marguerite Kaye "Christmas at Blackhaven Castle In disguise'' Penniless Lady Seraphina Moreton seeks sanctuary at the Duke of Blackhaven’s castle just days before Christmas. Trey swore never again to be beguiled by a beautiful face, but as governess Seraphina gets close to his unruly, motherless children, he wants the festive joy she brings to stay beyond Christmas Day…Read this and two other stories in this great festive collection.

Her next book Never Trust A Rake  will be published in  February 2013
Rumour has it that the Earl of Deben, the most notorious rake in London, has set aside his penchant for married mistresses, and turned his skilled hand to seducing innocents! There can be no other reason why he is so often seen in the company of a country miss, can there? But once Lord Deben engages in a battle of wits with the feisty Miss Henrietta Gibson, it becomes increasingly hard to determine just who is seducing whom!

You can learn more about Annie Burrows and her books on  http://www.annie-burrows.co.uk/
Barbara Monajem writes for the super sexy short sister line of Harlequin Historical, Historical Undone. These ebook exclusives are short novellas which pack a spicy punch. Barbara writes in the Regency period and is offering a download of one of her ebooks.
Her latest ebook is A Lady's lesson in Seduction and is her first Christmas themed ebook.
Once a notorious rake, Camden Folk, Marquis of Warbury, is now consumed by desire for only one woman: beautiful young widow Frances Burdett. And the Yuletide festivities at his country estate present the perfect opportunity for seduction…

After her brief and unsatisfying marriage, Frances Burdett swore never to become tied to another man. Then a passionate kiss under the mistletoe reawakens longings she thought buried forever. But can she give in to the pleasures of the body with a rogue like Cam—without losing her heart?


You can read more about Barbara and her sensual reads on her website. http://www.barbaramonajem.com/

Michelle Styles writes warm, witty and intimate historical romance in a wide range of time periods from Roman gladiators to hardened Viking warriors and early Victorian rakes and businessmen.
She happens to love history and believes love is timeless.
She is offering a signed copy of  her latest Hattie Wilkinson Meets Her Match (or a  backlist book if the winner would prefer).
WHEN OPPOSITES ATTRACT...! In the eyes of the ton Hattie Wilkinson is a respectable widow, content with her safe, if somewhat modest life. On the other hand Sir Christopher Foxton prides himself on being regarded as one of London's most notorious rakes, with a particularly mischievous streak! Upon their first meeting Kit threatens to shatter Hattie's well-ordered peace - and her reputation! - if only she'll allow herself to succumb to his playful advances. This time they've both finally met their match...
You can read an extract here.
Her next book An Ideal Husband? will be published in April 2013
When heiress Sophie Ravel finds herself in a compromising situation, notorious Richard Crawford, Viscount Bingfield, swoops in and saves her reputation! She might have escaped the attentions of one undesirable, but will Richard’s protection expose her to even more scandal?

Richard curses his impetuousness at offering a betrothal in the heat of the moment! He gladly accepts Sophie’s terms that their engagement remains a pretence until, quite by chance, he unlocks his shy fiancée’s passionate nature. Now nothing will steer him from wedding—then bedding—his blushing bride...
You can read more about Michelle and her books on www.michellestyles.co.uk

The entry form for the Fall In Love (Again) blog hop is here

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Be sure to blog hop to find more prizes!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Fall In Love (Again) Blog Hop -- Learn More About the Authors

Today two more of  the Harlequin Historical Authors are highlighted.

Julia Justiss writes Regency romance with panache and warmth. Her books sparkle with wit and gentle humour.  Her next book The Rake To Ruin Her which is published in March 2013 kicks off her Ransliegh Rogue series.
Max Ransleigh, charismatic leader of the cousins, has his dream of a brilliant diplomatic career destroyed by betrayal at the Congress of Vienna. While staying with his cousin Alastair, he’s accosted by Miss Caroline Denby, who makes him a most unusual proposition: ruin her, so she will not have to marry! Though amused and intrigued, Max intends to emphatically refuse, but there’s something so alluring about the unconventional Caro…
 
Julia is giving away a signed copy of her book A Most Unconventional Match
Hal Waterman's calling on the newly widowed Elizabeth Lowery is the caring act of a gentleman. And with her household in turmoil and a young son to support, she is certainly grateful for his help. Hal finds Elizabeth even more lovely than when they first met, but knows that she will only ever see him as a kind and often taciturn friend.
Elizabeth finds comfort and companionship in Hal's caring of her. But then a tantalizing desire starts to simmer. His reassuring strength and presence have become so very attractive...so alluring....
YOu can read an excerpt here.

You can learn more about Julia on her website www.juliajustiss.com


Award winning  Ann Lethbridge writes  Regency romance with dark heroes and strong women...often with an element of suspense or mystery. She did win the Daphne du Maurier Award in 2009 for excellence in historical mystery/suspense.
She is giving  away a copy of The Gamekeeper's Lady either as an ebook or print (winner's choice)
A most forbidden attraction! Frederica Bracewell grew up under a cloud of shame. As an illegitimate child, she was treated by her uncle like a servant. It isn’t until she encounters the new gamekeeper that shy, innocent Frederica starts to feel like a true lady…Lord Robert Mountford has been banished by his family. After a debauched existence, he revels in the simplicity of a gamekeeper’s lifestyle. Until temptation strikes! Frederica’s plain appearance and stuttering speech are a far cry from the ladies of the ton, but she may just be his undoing…and unmasking!
You can read an excerpt here.

Ann has a newsletter and you can learn more about Ann and her books on her website. www.annlethbridge.com

You can enter the Harlequin Historical Fall in Love Again giveaway for a chance to win the above books, plus others here.

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Blog hop to find out about more prizes.


Saturday, November 24, 2012

Fall In Love (Again) Giveaway Blog Hop -- Learn More about the Authors

Harlequin Historical offers a broad range of time periods but because the Georgian/Regency/Victorian  time periods are so popular, they do always offer at least one of these books in the their monthly offerings. Each author writes with her own unique voice and take on the period.

Louise Allen whose personal research library rivals Georgette Heyer's  has certainly ventured into the far flung places of the long Regency. She has a twist of humour and plenty of passion in her writing. She has also written books set in the Dark Ages, and the English Civil War as well as publishing a nonficiton book.  Her next book The Forbidden Jewel of India takes place in 1788 in India. It will be published in January 2013.
TO OBEY HIS DUTY IS TO DENY HIS HEART

Anusha Laurens is in danger. The daughter of an Indian princess and an English peer, she's the perfect pawn in the opulent courts of Rajasthan. Even so, she will not return to the father who rejected her.

Arrogant angrezi Major Nicholas Herriard is charged with bringing the alluring princess safely to her new life in Calcutta. Nick's mission is to protect, to serve–but under the searing Indian sun an initial attraction unfurls into a forbidden temptation.

This beautiful, impossible princess test the very limits of his honor–especially when Nick is left with only one option to keep Anusha safe: marriage. But the fast-flowing waters of the Ganges determine a different fate, and duty may separate them forever...
You can read an extract here.

Louise is offering a signed copy of one of her recent works Ravished by the Rake
A merchantman sails home to England from India with passengers whose lives will be altered forever when it hits the treacherous reefs of the Isles of Scilly.

In the first of the Danger & Desire trilogy meet Lady Perdita Brooke who puts a carefree face on heartbreak and scandal and whose sharp wit soon finds a worthy opponent in the devastatingly attractive shape of Lord Alistair Lyndon. Three months on board ship bring them into dangerously tempting proximity; one night of ultimate danger reveals a secret that threatens to part them forever.
You can read an extract here.

You can learn more about Louise and her books on her website www.louiseregency.co.uk




Elkizabeth Beacon writes Regency with fiesty heroines and goregous heroes. Georgette Heyer sparked her iniital love of the period. She loves the period and sees no need to venture outside it.

Elizabeth is offering a signed copy of a recent release The Duchess Hunt
"HAD SHE BEEN RIGHT UNDER HIS NOSE ALL THESE YEARS? Jack Seaborne, Duke of Dettingham, needs a duchess, but falling in love is definitely not on the agenda. The logical thing would be to throw open the doors of his ducal country seat, host a house party for this Season’s most beautiful debutantes…and pick one of them. But then Miss Jessica Pendle arrives – his aunt’s plain-speaking goddaughter – and she’s the one who stands out from the crowd. But Jessica is looking for love – the one emotion Jack resists. Although he can’t deny there’s something about Jessica that’s very persuasive…!"
You can read an extract here.

For a chance to win these books, you can enter the Harlequin Historical Authors Fall In Love Again Giveway here.

a Rafflecopter giveaway Blog hop and find  more giveaways to enter

Friday, November 23, 2012

Fall In Love (Again) Blog Hop -- Learn About the Authors

Harlequin Historical has authors to meet every mood and so over the next few days, we will be telling you about the authors who are providing the books for the giveaway.
First up
Carole Mortimer.
With more than 165 published books and a career which started in the late 1970s, Carole Mortimer is  truly a Queen of Romance. Earlier this year because of her services to literature, she met the Queen at one of the Queen's garden parties at Buckingham Palace.
Although she has written mainly contemporary romance for the Presents/Modern line, Carole recently brought  her unique voice to the Regency period. Her Regencys are great romps. Her latest is Some Like It Wicked and a sign copy is up for grabs in the Fall in Love (Again) giveaway.
DEVIL BY NAME… Rupert Stirling, Duke of Stratton, has long since acquired the nickname Devil. And with outrageous exploits both in and out of ladies’ bedchambers, my, has he earned it! Risqué behaviour is beyond Pandora Maybury, widowed Duchess of Wyndwood – although with her dark secret she’s far too well acquainted with being the subject of ribald gossip for her liking. If only the Ton knew just how innocent she really was…including Rupert who, after rescuing her from a compromising situation, seems intent on wickedly compromising her himself! Daring Duchesses They’ll scandalise the Ton"
 You can read an excerpt here.

Rita award winning author Diane Gaston also writes in the Regency period but has a different slant than Carole.  Diane 's books often concentrate on the Regency underworld.
Her latest Born to Scandal is published in December.
"‘PEOPLE TALK AS IF THERE IS SOMETHING WRONG ABOUT LORD BRENTMORE. SOMETHING ABOUT HIS PAST.' Lord Brentmore – half Irish peasant, half English aristocrat – grew up under a cloud of scandal. Even money and a title aren’t enough to stay the wagging tongues of the ton. But he’s vowed that his children will never experience the same stigma. After the death of their infamous mother they need a reputable governess. Anna Hill is too passionate, too alluring, but she fills Brentmore Hall with light and laughter again – and its master with feelings he’d forgotten… But a lord marrying a governess would be the biggest scandal of all!"

Diane is generously giving away a complete signed set of her Soldier books. You can read more about the  series here. You can learn more about Diane and her books on www.dianegaston.com

If you haven't entered the Fall In Love Again giveaway, you may do so here.
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You can blog hop and find more giveaways here.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Fall In Love Again Giveaway Blog Hop





The Fall In Love Giveaway hop was organized by Reading Romances!
 


Falling in love is what Harlequin Historical romance is all about because love is timeless. From Roman gladiator, Chinese Xi-an warriors and hardened Vikings to Roguish rakes, Western gunslingers and sophisticated aristocrats, whatever your pleasure in heroes, Harlequin Historical has it covered. To give you the chance to fall in love (again) with Harlequin Historical, some of the Harlequin Historical Authors have got together to offer a wealth of signed books.
What you can win here:
1 Signed copy of Hattie Wilkinson Meets Her Match by Michelle Styles (or backlist book if winner prefers)
1 Signed copy of Carole Mortimer's latest Some Like It Wicked
1 Annie Burrows signed copy of Gift Wrapped Governess
1 complete signed set of Diane Gaston's Soldier series includes: Valiant Soldier, Beautiful Enemy; Chivalrous Captain, Rebel Mistress; Gallant Officer, Forbidden Lady
1 signed copy of Ravished by the Rake by Louise Allen
1 signed copy of A Most Unconventional Match by Julia Justiss
1 copy of The Gamekeepers Lady by Ann Lethbridge (ebook or print -- winner's choice)
1 ebook copy of one of Barbara Monajem's Undones (winner's choice)
1 signed copy of The Duchess Hunt by Elizabeth Beacon

Number of winners: 9 
Open to : International (ie everyone!)
How to enter: Click below to see the rafflecopter entry form. There are multiple ways to enter.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
  If you can't see the rafflecopter entry form. Go here for it
As Rafflecopter seems to be erratic for some people (other people are not having a problem), if you leave a comment to that effect, I will make sure your name goes in the draw for one entry -- Michelle Styles 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Tea or Coffee?

 
Tea or coffee?  I’m a tea drinker myself, when I’m at home that is – loose leaf Assam and my own teapot, at any time of day, but especially when I’m writing. My husband likes China tea before 11am – after that he’s a coffee man. But I don’t drink tea when I’m out – tea bags in not-quite-boiling water ruin it for me.

So I was delighted to finally make it to a shop I’ve driven past on the bus many times – Twining’s in the Strand in London. It has been on the same spot since 1706 and the doorway – of which more later – is the fabulous original.

Tomas Twining bought Tom’s Coffee House on this site, virtually on the border line between the City of London and the City of Westminster, and began selling tea alongside the highly popular coffee. Tea was incredibly expensive, thanks to very high taxation, but Twining persisted. Perhaps because of the high price tea soon acquired a certain cachet and became fashionable. Tea caddies came equipped with locks to stop the servants pilfering it and there was a brisk sale of used and re-dried tealeaves – one of the traditional perks of Cook who would sell them at the door after the families used tea had been recycled for the servants a few times.

The use of damp tea leaves to freshen and clean carpets dates from the Victorian era when the tax had been abolished – it was far too valuable for a Georgian housekeeper to use in that way.
The Austen family bought tea from Twining’s. In March 1814 Jane, who was visiting her banker brother Henry, wrote to Cassandra. ‘I am sorry to hear there has been a rise in tea. I do not mean to pay Twining till later in the day, when we may order a fresh supply.’ A few days later she wrote again on a note of indignation, ‘I suppose my Mother recollects that she gave me no Money for paying Brecknell and Twining; & my funds will not supply enough.’

Only the doorway remains of Tom’s, but the interior, besides a vast selection of teas that make choice almost impossible, also has a collection of antique tea caddies, prints, portraits and even original packaging. The Twining’s logo was designed in 1787 and is, apparently, the oldest unchanged trade logo in the world still in use.

The lovely doorcase has the figures of two Chinese gentlemen, a reminder that Indian tea dates from the 1820s when the East India Company began growing it in India to break the Chinese monopoly.
Which do you prefer? Tea, coffee or perhaps chocolate?

Louise Allen
Snowbound Wedding Wishes. Harlequin November 2012

Monday, November 12, 2012

Harlequin Historicals in the Spotlight

Come join twelve Harlequin Historical authors in the Harlequin Community from November 12-16. There's a great discussion going. Ask questions of your favorite authors and join in -- it's fun. Just go to the Harlequin Historical Spotlight Discussion. Here's the URL spelled out if you need it:

http://community.harlequin.com/showthread.php/556-Harlequin-Historical-Spotlight-Discussion

Also, if you're looking for Christmas recipes, try the Harlequin Christmas Cookie Recipe Exchange. There are already a bunch of great recipes there. Here's the URL spelled out:

http://community.harlequin.com/showthread.php/743-Harlequin-Christmas-Cookie-Recipe-Exchange

Hope to see you there!



Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Having Fun with Festive Customs


Writing a festive romance set in Scotland I was, quite literally, in my element. My mother’s family hail from the Isle of Lewis, a brooding and romantic landscape awash with ancient traditions and customs, some of them pre-dating Christianity. When I was a wee lassie, my maternal grandfather, a sea captain, filled my head with his stories of selkies and mermaids, sea sirens and sea ghosts. I was terrified and fascinated in equal parts. It seemed to me that the high seas were chock full of creatures (mostly women and often in the form of seals) who spent their days trying to lure poor innocent sailors to their death.

My Nana, who was a herring girl in her youth, was even more superstitious. It seemed that the wee people, or faeries, had it in for bairns on the islands every bit as much as the sea sirens had it in for sailors. Faeries were always on the lookout for new borns, which they would replace with their own changlings if they got half a chance. During childbirth, mirrors were covered to stop them stealing the baby’s image, and a cross of rowan was laid on the birthing bed to scare them off. When the mother was ‘churched’ after the birth, hot coals and peat were thrown behind the procession to make sure no faery could follow. Making a cradle from sacred woods such as elder, oak or rowan would keep the babe safe, as would the father’s dirk, or dagger, placed under the bairn’s pillow.

My maternal grandparents, whose stories inspired several of mine
The fairies my Nana talked about were not, you’ll have gathered, the pretty, playful wee things you see in story books. Many Scottish New Year traditions have at their root this need to keep the mischief-makers, sometimes called Kelpies, out of the house. Take the obsessive cleaning that still goes on, for example. The house must be gleaming, and I mean gleaming, when midnight strikes. Not a dust mote under the beds, not a teaspoon in the sink can there be, for it would mean a dirty home for the rest of the year, and the dirt gave a faery somewhere to hide.  

Clootie dumpling. a Scottish delicacy!
Rowan brings luck, and hazel wards off evil spirits. Both of these are traditionally hung over the front door on Hogmanay. The door is opened as midnight strikes to let out the old year and let in the new, so the rowan and hazel make sure that no wee people can dive in. Sometimes the old year is literally swept out the door.
An Invitation to Pleasure, my latest ‘Undone’ short story, takes place over Christmas and New Year, and contains a lot of customs, not all of which are Highland. The stirring of the pudding is actually a an English tradition which I adopted. Fergus and Susannah, my hero and heroine, stir a Clootie dumpling, which was my paternal grandmother’s speciality. Made with suet, treacle and rich with fruit, it is cooked in a muslin (actually, my Gran used an old pillow case) and can be eaten hot with cream or custard, or fried up for breakfast. My Gran made me one every year for my birthday. I loathe dried fruit of any kind, but every year I’d smile happily and nibble daintily, then pass the whole lot to my mother – who loved it. Gran put sixpences and thruppences in the pudding for luck. When we went decimal, it just wasn’t the same.

The bundling board, a huge bit of wood which divides up the bed Susannah and Fergus sleep in, is another real Highland tradition. Unlike my hero and heroine, the courting couples were, in reality, fully-clothed, in fact the lass’s legs may even have been tied up in a bolster cover just to keep her ‘safe’, but bundling was an accepted custom in the days when courtship was long and drawn-out while the couple saved to marry.
Feet washing is another Highland custom that I adapted. Traditionally, the groom’s feet are washed by his friends the night before the wedding. It’s a raucous and by the sounds of it painful ceremony involving boot-blacking and scrubbing brushes. I thought it would be much more fun to have the groom wash the bride’s feet though. Fergus uses wine and not water to bathe Susannah’s feet, and this part of the ceremony is true to tradition – wine instead of water being used for high-ranking men such as the laird. The other part of the ceremony, relating to a ring – now that, I did make up.

Christmas Day here in Argyll two years ago 
Christmas Day itself in the Highlands used to be much more about the church than celebrating. My mum remembers going to church three times every Sunday when she holidayed in Lewis. There was no cooking, no playing on the Sabbath, no reading of anything but the bible. She was severely chastised for reading a comic once. It is only very recently that ferries have started running, and some woman have even dared to hang out their washing, behaviour so scandalous that it was reported in the press. Christmas Day was definitely not a party day in the Highlands. Which explains why Hogmanay in Scotland is one big party.

After the old year has been swept out, the anxious wait begins for the first foot – the first stranger through the door. A red-head is incredibly unlucky, as is a female. Best of all is a dark-haired man, and if he’s carrying a lump of coal then your luck is made. Black bun is the traditional Hogmanay cake, another of those fruit-rich concoctions that my Gran used to make and I cannot abide, though I’m very fond of shortie. And once that’s all over, it’s ceilidh time – though not, of course, on the dreadful days when New Year’s Day fell on the Sabbath, when the fiddles and pipes had to wait an extra day to be aired.

I had fun using a mixture of real and imagined Scottish festive customs and I hope they lend colour and atmosphere to the story. I’d love to know what  traditions or customs do you hold dear?

An Invitation to Pleasure is out now in the UK, US and Canada in digital format only. My other Christmas story set in the Highlands, Spellbound and Seduced, is available in digital format in the UK, US and Canada, and also in a print anthology (UK only), Sinful Regency Christmas anthology with four other seasonal shorts.

There’s excerpts, background and more about my books on www.margueritekaye.com. I’m always happy to chat on Facebook or Twitter. And if you want to see the ideas and inspiration behind some of my stories then check out my boards on Pinterest

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Today's the day! Nov. 1,  "How to Sin Successfully" is out in stores for anyone who hasn't got it already in a mail order. Check out Riordan's story as he wrangles two wards and  a slew of governesses! Total, sexy fun. Follow this link to the review posted on the good, the bad, and the unread. http://goodbadandunread.com/2012/11/01/review-how-to-sin-successfully-by-bronwyn-scott/#more-20511